52 Weeks: Haeundae Lightshow (Week 19 of 52)
Lightning rips through the sky and strikes a tower in Marine City, South Korea as a powerful monsoon approaches.
Taken handheld (Shutter speed 1/80) on 7/19/2014 from Dongbaek Island, South Korea.
After a month of research and photography, it was my last full day in Korea. To commemorate the trip, I decided to take an entire day to do nothing but take photos. I had spent 11 hours taking photos all across southern South Korea. Already having visited Dongbaek Island earlier in the day, something compelled me to return. So after walking along the beachside streets of Haeundae, I found myself back on Dongbaek Island, really more a peninsula of piers than an island. A subpar sunset left me a little disappointed, but I thought I'd stick around a couple extra minutes.
Then, it all started to fall into place. Thunder cracked in the distance as the clouds darkened. Fisherman nearby began to comment on light rain falling, and my mood instantly became electric. Something was happening. I hopped over a barrier into a construction zone on a nearby pier, as many of the fisherman had, pulled out my umbrella, and sat down at the water's edge. Next thing I know, lightning struck just to the right. Not having a tripod, I opted to still give it a shot, and set elbow to knee in a contorted kind of "human tripod" position.
CRACK! Another strike, closer this time. Shit was happening.
I framed my shot, got my exposure settings as close as I could guess I'd need, and waited. Eye glued to the viewfinder, I nervously wiped my lens whenever the now torrent of rain found it's way past my umbrella.
What happened next was a blur. All I remember was a flash, a press of the shutter, and not realizing what had happened until an extra 3 or 4 frames had already fired off.
"I think I got it!" I said to the photographer to my left whom I'd just met (Nate, from Seattle, cool dude). I checked my memory card, and cried out when I saw this image. Next thing, I'm on my back yelling out "I GOT IT!!! YES!!! I GOT IT!" Needless to say, fisherman were giving me quite the look.
Shortly after, the torrent became a flood. Winds picked up, blowing plywood roofs off of makeshift structures fisherman had made from the nearby construction supplies. I packed my bags and headed home, soaked to the bone and with the biggest smile in Korea.